By ED SOUTHORN
THE people have spoken - Tweed Coast residents are likely to get a pedestrian and bicycle bridge across Cudgen Creek, close to the rickety road bridge.
That is the message yesterday from Tweed Mayor Warren Polglase after a public meeting at Kingscliff last week called for a separate bridge for pedestrians and cyclists, but not downstream near the boat ramp as initially suggested by a Council options report.
However, Kingscliff Residents and Ratepayers Association president Pete Gladwin predicted it could be another 12 months at least before the bridge is built and another couple of years before the old road bridge is replaced.
In the meantime, the residents' group wants Council to impose a weight limit on the existing traffic bridge to stop trucks from major development projects south of Kingscliff using the bridge as a short cut.
Councillor Polglase said $450,000 was already allocated for the pedestrian/cyclist bridge across the creek, from compulsory funding provided by Salt developer, the Ray Group.
?He said the Ray Group contribution would go a long way towards paying for the non-vehicle bridge, with Council looking to find another $150,000.
"The consensus is to build a stand-alone bridge (for pedestrians and cyclists)," Cr Polglase said.
"When the exhibition process is finished, Council will give it serious consideration."
Mr Gladwin said the residents' group had been lobbying for a pedestrian and cyclist bridge for years.
He said the Tweed Coast growth boom had increased traffic dangers to pedestrians and cyclists using the narrow road bridge built in the late 1940s.
A management plan for the controversial Lot 490 land immediately south of the road bridge is due to be released soon, after the State Government took control of the site's future.
Once the plan is finalised, tenders will be invited for interested parties wanting to utilise Lot 490, before funding is decided for a new road bridge.
Mr Gladwin said Council officers had advised him the old road bridge had a lifespan of another 10 to 15 years and may need to be re-sealed in the future.
He said a proposed boardwalk from the creek to Ma- rine Parade was a separate project and a call for the boardwalk to run along a Moss Street easement, rather than along the creek frontage, was unlikely to be adopted.
Council staff had advised the easement did not conform to standards required for a boardwalk, Mr Gladwin said.
Councillor John Murray, who attended last week's public meeting, said people did not want a new bridge near the boat ramp because they thought it would spoil the natural beauty of the creek mouth.
He said he supported prioritising replacement of the old bridge.